Astell&Kern announces AK ZERO1 in ear monitor

No shortage of drivers here!

by Andy Bassett

Astell&Kern unveils a triple treat of drivers for its latest IEM, the AK ZERO1, aiming to deliver a ground-breakingly natural sound.

After Astell&Kern’s reimagining of Campfire Audio’s Solaris earphones earlier in the year, which saw a custom designed balance armature (BA) and a dynamic driver hybrid system, the South Korean personal audio specialist has now gone one better by adding a third driver into the mix for its latest in ear monitor, the AK Zero1.

The addition of a micro planar dynamic driver, to the dual balanced armature and dynamic driver assembly uniquely combines the sonic characteristics of each driver to get closer to the original studio sound.

Traditionally difficult to scale down, the Micro Rectangular Planar Dynamic Driver has been specially developed to fit into in-ear monitors. The lightweight yet sturdy planar membrane is combined with a vibration panel sporting a high-polymer and thin metal film to create clear and dynamic high frequencies.

Astell&Kern announces AK ZERO1 in ear monitor
Astell&Kern AK ZERO1  in ear monitor 

The AK Zero1’s other drivers see the dual BA drivers use custom-designed coils to deliver transparent vocals with very low distortion, along with a single 5.6 mm dynamic driver that ensures controlled and deep low frequencies for the resulting hybrid sound output.

A new Crossover Network design was created to curate this new sound through the ideal frequency response, taking into account each of the drivers’ parameters.

Each driver is placed in its optimal position and is housed in a 3D printed acoustic chamber which eliminates unnecessary movement and resonance to ensure a stable performance. Similarly, the main CNC precision-tooled housing also reduces internal and external vibrations for the most accurate sound possible.

Astell&Kern announces AK ZERO1 in ear monitor
Astell&Kern AK ZERO1 IEM 

The diagonal shape and light reflecting, cut-metal surface of the housing continues Astell&Kern’s recognisable design language on the AK ZERO1, while the slender ear nozzles have been designed and refined to not only provide a secure and comfortable fit, but to deliver the sound efficiently and accurately. To ensure a snug and comfortable fit for all wearers, the AK Zero1s are supplied with five different-sized pairs of silicone ear tips and one set of foam tips, along with a carry case.

The AK ZERO1 comes with high purity silver-coated OFC cables which use aluminum plugs to help maintain transparency of the audio signal, while the MMCX connectors ensure a strong, stable connection between the ear housing and cable.

Astell&Kern announces AK ZERO1 in ear monitor
Astell&Kern AK Zero1 contents

For audiophiles who wish to go a step further, Astell&Kern is launching the PEP11, an optional 4.4mm cable which sports larger aluminium-machined 4.4mm plugs and features the same top-quality pure silver plating and copper cable as the AK Zero1’s supplied cable. Available from November, the PEP11 will be priced  £119 ($130 / €139) and can be used with other MMCX-connector compatible headphones too. 

The Astell&Kern AK ZERO1 is priced £649  ($699 / €749) and will be available from November from www.astellkern.co.uk and local independent dealers. 

Source: Press Release
Image Source: Astell&Kern

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